Audit report unearth corruption at Health Ministry

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-Over Le2bn unaccounted for

February 6, BY Patrick J. Kamara

The 2015 Audit Service Sierra Leone report has unearthed massive corrupt practices in the Ministry of Health and Sanitation.

According the report, the ministry could not provide adequate supporting documents for withdrawals amounting to Le2, 777,365,292 and US$37,837 made from various bank accounts.

“Payment vouchers and supporting documents were submitted for withdrawals totaling Le350, 387,475 and US$4,993 leaving a balance of Le2,426,977,817 and US$32,842. Therefore, the issue remained unresolved,” the report reveals.

The report, which was laid before parliament a week ago noted that there were recurring problems in non-compliance with procurement procedures; non provision of supporting documents for expenditure under audit; control and usage of fuel; and collection and banking of revenue among other issues.

“Compliance with procurement procedures stands out clearly as a system that has been disregarded since 2012 to 2015. Overall, recommendations have largely not been implemented over the years. This pattern of irregularities in significant control systems suggests that not much is well managed in the health sector and worse still, little or nothing is being done to remedy the situation,” the report continues.

The report further stated that the ministry also refused to produce cashbooks and bank reconciliation statements in respect of the Reduction in Teenage Pregnancy Programme and the Sierra Leone Nigeria Health bank accounts.

But the Permanent Secretary of the ministry said the relevant documents in respect of the payments indicated above had been assembled for audit verification.

The report stated gross mismanagement and unfair allocations of vehicles to officials in the ministry and it was reported that 21 vehicles that were listed for audit in 2014 were neither included nor seen for physical verification in 2015.

 “Vehicles owned and controlled by the Ministry were not properly allocated to personnel of the Ministry as some officers were in possession of more than one official vehicle whilst other senior staffs were without official vehicles.”

There were also unserviceable vehicles at the headquarters as per list submitted for audit, and that there was no evidence to indicate that the Ministry intended to carryout repairs and maintenance of those vehicles within the shortest possible time, according to the report.